Home for the holidays?

Whatever happened to Cariboo-Prince George MP Dick Harris?

Bill Phillips

PG Free Press

Whatever happened to Cariboo-Prince George MP Dick Harris?

Oh, he’s still our MP. Maybe it’s just me, but since the May election we haven’t seen much of Harris. We’ve seen lots from his counterpart to the north, Prince George-Peace River Bob Zimmer, but not much of Harris.

During the election campaign it was suggested that Harris was actually living in the Okanagan, something he steadfastly denied then, and continued to deny a few weeks ago when the question of his residency rose again.

Harris admits that he spends as much time as he can in the Okanagan, where his wife owns property and that he continues to rent a house in Prince George. Kind of like having a cabin at the lake, he told a local journalist, adding last year he figures he spent about 19 days in the Okanagan.

We here at the Prince George Free Press thought it might be a good idea to try and find out exactly where Harris spends his time. Harris, in defending the fact he ran up $199,363 on travel in 2010-11, the fourth highest in the House, likes to point out he is chair of the Conservatives’ B.C. caucus. So, to see where he’s been, we launched a Freedom of Information request asking to see Harris’ parliamentary and personal calendar for last year.

The request, of course, was declined.

That didn’t surprise us. But what did was the response received from Theresa Bell, Harris’ legislative assistant.

“Such information is subject to the ATI (Access to Information) Act,” she wrote. “Nor will we be sharing information that is confidential or of a private nature concerning his constituents.”

We didn’t ask for that, only a record of Harris’ whereabouts.

The kicker was that Bell included a stack of Harris’ householders and flyers an inch thick that would have cost any other Canadian an arm and a leg to mail.

She somehow thought that “other information that is readily accessible” was pertinent to our request.

“What is important is that Mr. Harris’ constituents have expressed confidence in his abilities to represent them at the federal level and thus have returned him to that role for the seventh consecutive time,” she ended with.

In other words … bugger off.

This issue dogged the MP through the election campaign and it continues to dog him now, especially since he hasn’t been front-and-centre since the election campaign.

Harris will have to continue to defend himself until he spends more time in the riding

He could also take a page from independent Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson who has taken to publishing his expenses on his website. Anyone wanting to know what Bob’s been up to … how much he spent on a taxi, for instance, can check it out online.

It’s time that all politicians did that. We hear lots of talk about transparency in government, but that transparency seems to have an opacity to it.

ment, but that transparency seems to have an opacity to it.

 

Just Posted

The Binche Fishing Derby at Stuart Lake is fast approaching. (Binche Fishing Derby Facebook photo)
Binche shares excitement for upcoming fishing derby

“It’s more than just fishing,” says Dave Birdi

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Local youth vaccination clinics underway

Pfizer vaccine will be used

Priya Sharma. (Submitted)
Column: Why ultimatums don’t work

By Priya Sharma It is a common misconception that people can choose… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Most Read